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City wins grant to fund two wells
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The California Department of Public Health is awarding up to $690,000 in grant funds to the city of Ceres from the California Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The grants will be used to fund two water well projects.

The well projects consist of replacing the Paramount well at a cost of $455,000 and upgrading the Rockefeller well treatment system for $235,000.

Public Works Director Phil Scott said that the well replacement project will add more water to the city system and improve water pressure.

The Rockefeller treatment system upgrade project will improve the filtration process, protect the equipment on site, and make the well site safer for staff.

"Together these projects will benefit the city's overall water system reliability," said Scott.

"Improving the city's water system has been a top priority of the City Council," said Mayor Anthony Cannella. "These grants will go a long way in ensuring the continued reliability of the city's water delivery system for Ceres residents."

The Rockefeller well site is equipped with a uranium treatment system and requires the installation of a pre-filter for sand to prevent the fouling of the uranium treatment media. Also planned is a shade cover to prevent weatherizing and UV damage to the treatment system equipment. A chlorine treatment safety station will be installed as well as a drain to waste to comply with state standards. The city had planned to spend at least $150,000 through the Ceres Capital Improvement Project program to perform this work.

The city had planned to replace the Paramount well since its water exceeds the allowable limit of uranium and nitrates. The well is open bottomed and sand and silt is a problem. Scott said the sides of the well keep caving in and silting prevents the treatment system from working. Drilling a new well at the site is not feasible because of room and concern over contaminants. The grant funds will drill a new well in a future city park site in the Eastgate community. The park site is south of Hatch Road, bounded by Eastgate Boulevard on west, and between Fiddle Leaf and Kiwi. City officials believe the site will produce quality water as well as offset the loss of water production from the Paramount well going down to help maintain pressure in the north part of Ceres.

The city had planned to spend approximately $500,000 through its CIP program to perform the work.

Scott said the water pressure in Ceres is now "much improved" since he came aboard in September 2007.

"When I first got here we were struggling with 30 psi and now we're averaging 50 psi most of the time," said Scott.